Hello, my dear peeps. I hope you all having a great weekend. Continuing our journey with Vahini’s escapades on wheels
Read the earlier stories here
Vahini is about to start on another of her learning adventures…
After a lavish wedding followed by a short trip to Europe, the newlyweds settled down to a routine of marital bliss in Bangalore. Varun and Vahini’s new home was a cozy little two bedder owned by Shri. Hombe Gowda, in the thickly canopied lanes of RT Nagara, 2nd block. With its small, well-manicured lawn, a little kitchen garden, and various flowering and fruit plants, the whole place was an idyllic paradise for these love birds. More importantly, it had ample parking space for Varun’s wheels.
Gowdru and their family, who lived in their palatial Bungalow next door, were super supportive and helped Vahini settle down in her new home. Especially, their elder daughter, Sharanya, a second-year B. Sc student at Mounts and Vahini, hit it off from the word go.
Everything went on great for the first two months, with weekend outings, movies, and all. The real challenge started when Vahini appeared for an interview at the Indian Institute of Science. On the day she attended the interview for research assistance post at the Center of Ecological Science, IISC, Sharanya dropped and picked up Vahini on her scooty. So everything was fantastic, including the interview result. Vahini had to join the new job on the 1st of the following month.
The good news was shared with one and all concerned. Varun and Vahini had a string of parties with their few known small circles, including the Gowdrus.
Amidst all the celebrations, one thought that troubled Vahini was, reaching the Institute. The euphoria of joining the prestigious Institute suddenly seemed to fade away when Vahini started thinking about the commute to and from her place of work. A strange fear gripped her when she imagined herself on the moped. Ayyo, what to do? Everyone suggested that the first few days, Vahini should hail an Autorikshaw as and when needed. But eventually, she will have to learn two-wheeler if she has to be independent and free of all the hassles of the erratic Autowallas.
Vahini’s pleas to try to master the moped were vehemently crushed by Varun. Having heard the various stories of crash episodes and the latest, ghastly one at Pune, he was adamant that Vahini should give up the thought of a moped ride. He suggested, “Instead, try to learn the four-wheeler.”
“Hushh…” Vahini felt relieved. “Anyways, I never enjoyed the moped. I feel much safer in a car. You see, the impact will be far less brutal…just in case… Ammah…good, Varun shot it down.” She rejoiced privately.
So Vahini, accompanied by Sharanya, landed at the Shree Majunatha Motor Driving Training School, the closest and the most famous one in RT Nagara, to enroll in the training classes. Mr. Manjunath, the training school’s proprietor, had his tiny cubicle in one corner of the rundown shop, probably one of the first co-working spaces in Bangalore. One corner was occupied by a xerox and scanner machine; the second had a travel ticketing counter. The most important and promising business counter was the two cubicles, one for internet surfing.
Mr. Manjunath expertly guided them with the documentation needed to procure a LL and DL from the proprietor’s chair in a red flowery shirt, adjusting his long curly hair every few minutes.
“Nale muru ghante ge class startu. Mane hatra car barate, Ready irri. Wait Ella madake aagla. Wokay.” (Class starts at 3PM, tomorrow. The vehicle will come to your house. Be ready. Don’t make us wait.) He said, looking at Sharanya as if he was doing a favor, and dismissed the meeting.
Vahini and Sharanya got ready and waited for the instructor the next day.
They had expected a decent car to arrive with a good instructor. They were shocked to see the proprietor, Mr. Manjunath wearing a zazzy blue colored t-shirt sitting in the driver’s seat of an old clunker Maruti 800.
“Arre Deva, Look at the car, Sharu! What and how am I going to learn?…. Scary, right?” An already apprehensive Vahini was now scared/ alarmed and blabbering.
“We have paid up the full amount, Vahi dear. Backing out will be a total waste. Let’s try.” Sharanya reasoned to comfort and convince.
Quickly murmuring shlokas, Vahini occupied the front passenger seat while Sharanya quietly slipped into the back seat of the haggard rattletrap.
“Readyaa?” demanded Mr. Manjunath, the instructor cum CEO of Shree Manjunatha Enterprise.
“Yes, Yes!” An eager Vahini replied.
“You learn firsshtu timaa?”
“Have tried earlier. But I can ride a two-wheeler.
“Wokay. Firshtu Claasu, parts understand, Wokay. Mr. Manjunath nodded to make his explanations more understandable. This igition.”
“Aaan !! What !!” Oh !! Okay, you mean ‘IGNITION.’
“Wokay, Wokhay, Ignition.” He corrected himself and proceeded to explain Shtartaru, Axsheloratoru, Breaku, Clutchu, and stopped at Gear to explain in detail.
At this point, Vahini interrupted, “Kannada dale heli….artha aagathe, aadre ashtu mathadake barodila.” (talk in Kannada…I understand but can’t communicate fluently.)
“Ayyo, Ayyu, Medam !! Kannada Barutha? Ayyo devare…” Mr. Manjunath’s happiness knew no bounds and was about to reach hysterical heights.
“So, idu neutral alla?” Vahini interrupted him so that he could contain his excitement.
“Howdu, Howdu Medam?”. Now super comfortable and overtly thrilled, Mr. Manjunath went on to talk about rare view mirror and side mirror in great detail to Vahini’s utter dismay. He expertly explained and showed the workings of the car’s parts in his matrubhashe, Kannada.
Oh! There is one more addition to all the checkboxes to tick for the car to move. The rare view mirror…Hey Bhagawan, as if Shtartaru, Axsheloratoru, Breaku, Clutchu was not enough.” Vahini was silently lamenting.
“Evaga nive try madi medam. Bani, Driver seat ge banni.” (Now, you try. Come to the driver’s seat.)
“Hmmm, finally,” Vahini said to herself… Holding the steering wheel, Vahini felt great happiness. She looked out to see if any of her neighbors had noticed her in the driver’s seat. She was definitely a bit disappointed to see none. She reached for the key to start the car with a small shloka.
And then, for the next 30 minutes, Mr. Manjunath made her do all the steps in the stationary car.
“Wokay, Medam. Nale inda car odsona.” (We will start driving from tomorrow)
“Id yella, Nima control aali iratthe. Adre car road alli odasa beku allva. Adake road sense develop madko beku.” (“The car is in your control. But you have to drive on the road, right? For that, you have to develop good road sense.) Before ending the class, he started a long lecture on road sense and safety. For the most part, Vahini stifled her yawns and kept looking at an equally bored Shara through the rare view mirror.
Handing a printed pamphlet to Vahini before dismissing the class, Mr. Manjunath ordered, ” Signu Boardugalu understand madi follow madabeku. Ee phamplet by heart madi medam.” (You have to understand Signboards and follow them, Medam.)
Pointing to one sign on the paper, he said authoritatively, “For eggample…
idu, Overtaking probitated.”
“Wokhay, banni.”(Okay, See you) Hearing this, Vahini and Sharanya jumped out of the car without waiting for a single minute.
And Mr. Manjunath zoomed off as if he was driving a Ferrari and participating in the formula one race.
Vahini and Sharanya burst into a riot of loud laughter…
“Arre Deva! Sharu, What have we signed up for? What a specimen!… Overtaking Probitated.”
Kalyani Sreedhar Kakade
26, Magha, Shukla Paksha, Ekadashi 2078 Aananda, Vikrama Samvata, Singapore
12 February 2022 Saturday